1 much taller/much more difficult etc used especially before comparatives and superlatives to mean a lot taller, a lot more difficult: You get a much better view if you stand on a chair. | She looks much fatter in real life than she does on TV. | much too old/much too tall etc: You can't marry him. He's much too old. | much the bigger/much the more interesting: Her second novel was much the more exciting. | much the biggest/much the most interesting etc: He is much the most handsome man I've ever met. | much loved/much admired: Maturity and wider experience are much sought after commodities in teaching these days.2 too much/so much/very much/how much etc used to show the degree which someone does something or something happens: If he didn't talk so much he'd do a lot better. | The divorce was messy and at the time upset her very much. | I've so much looked forward to your visit. | However much you hate walking you still have to go to the top.3 not mucha) only a little, only to a small degree etc: "Did you enjoy the performance?" "Not much!" | I haven't seen Tony for over 20 years. He hasn't changed much. | It was only a young dog - not much higher than my knee.b) used to say that something does not happen often: We don't go to the theatre much these days. | The new compact discs mean you don't see LPs in the shops as much.4 much like/much as/much the same used to say that something is very similar to something else: The house was very much as I'd remembered it. | It's easy to confuse us, we're much the same build and have the same coloured hair.5 not be much good at something to not be able to do something such as play a sport, speak a foreign language etc very well: Brian's never been much good at understanding other people's feelings.6 much less used to say that one thing is even less true, possible etc, than another: He can hardly afford beer, much less champagne.7 be too much/a bit much spoken used to say that someone's behaviour is rude or impolite: I thought breaking your window and expecting you to pay for it was a bit much!8 not so much...as... used to show that something is bigger, more difficult etc than people may think: In many cases nursing is not so much a job as a way of life.9 much as sb does sth used to mean that although one thing is true, something else is also true: Much as I enjoy Shakespeare, I was glad when the play was over.10 much to sb's surprise/disgust etc formal used to say that someone was very surprised, very disgusted etc: Much to my displeasure some of the pupils in the school have been smoking outside the gates.11 so much the better (for sb) especially spoken used to say that you think a situation, idea etc is very good: If he wants to not drink and drive everyone home, so much the better for us!12 Not much! used to emphasize that you really do want to do something, that you really are excited about something etc: "You don't want any cake, do you Tom?" "Not much!"USAGE NOTE: MUCH GRAMMAR POINTS Much, with or without very, is only used with nouns if they are uncountable, and then only with negative clauses or in questions: She doesn't get out much. | Did you get very much work done? | How much money do you have? For positive statements and with countable nouns, you use a lot or many: She's done a lot of work. | They visited many/a lot of countries. | Were there many people there? You often use (very) much with verbs in negative or question contexts. In questions, it usually comes at the end of a clause: Do you go to London much? In negative contexts, it may come before the verb, or, more often, at the end. So you would say: I don't much like living in London. | I don't like living in London much (NOT I don't like living much in London). So much, as much, much more and too much are often used in positive contexts with verbs and uncountable nouns: I go to restaurants so much I'm tired of them. | She smokes too much. | Try to relax as much as possible. | We'll need much more money than that. With some verbs, especially with the general meaning `like', very much can be used in positive contexts as well. Using very much before a verb is particularly common in British English: Rhoda very much enjoys skiing (NOT Rhoda enjoys very much skiing).). | I love her very much. You also say: Thank you very much. (Very)much is used with most adjectives only before more and too, or when they are in the -er form. You cannot use it simply instead of very: This is much more/too difficult. But note that you say: I am very sorry (NEVER I am much sorry, or I am sorry very much). Some adjectives end in -ed or -ing and look like forms of verbs, but they take very rather than much (unless more or too is there as well). So you would use much in this sentence: She was a much-loved colleague because loved is a passive verb, but you would use very in this one: The kids are getting very tired, because tired is an adjective. 2
Longman dictionary of contemporary English. 2004.